After fatal accident, Ambassador Kmiec pledges to triple his efforts in commemoration

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U.S. Ambassador to Malta Doug Kmiec

The California accident which killed two friends and injured him was “tragic in every way,” U.S. Ambassador to Malta Doug Kmiec told a Maltese newspaper. However, it has inspired him to work “three times as hard” to honor the priest and religious sister who died.

On Aug. 26, Kmiec was driving a car on a California highway with Sr. Mary Campbell and retired Malibu pastor Msgr. John Sheridan. An accidental crash killed Sr. Campbell at the scene, while Msgr. Sheridan died several weeks later. The ambassador was also injured.

The event was “the kind of unexpected and unwanted tragedy that one encounters,” he told the Malta times. “(I)t can’t help but change your life.”

Sr. Campbell and Msgr. Sheridan were “dear friends” whom he had missed greatly during his first year of service in Malta “and yet for reasons known only to God on that afternoon they were to be taken from us.”

“When you lose two close friends like this, the expression that comes to mind is that you have to live not only for yourself, but for them,” Kmiec continued, noting his two friends did “great good” in their “long service to the community.”

He reported that he has told his embassy staff he will return to his duties to do the work of three people and will expect to work three times as hard to accomplish three times as much.

“…and I will always be doing it in memory of these lost friends, but also in response to the great kindness and compassion shown to me by the people of Malta.”

The ambassador added that he was “deeply moved” by the support the Maltese showed him while he was in the hospital. He reported that many wrote or called to express their kindness.

“I’d always had a great respect for the faith commitment of the people of Malta but I now understand the depth of that faith commitment,” he said.

Malta is a predominantly Catholic country.

Kmiec, who turned 59 on Friday, is expected to recover from his injuries but will require another operation.

“I still have an incomplete colon; you might say the ambassador has a semi-colon,” he joked to the Malta Times.

He reported that he hopes the necessary surgery can be done in Malta.

Noting some limits on his physical activity and his diet, he said he can still eat the Maltese bread ħobza, which he missed while in the United States.

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